Colorado State Flower - Rocky Mountain Columbine

The Rocky Mountain Columbine, the official state flower of Colorado, is attractive and aromatic, making it popular with flower lovers as well as insects and hummingbirds that feed on it. This flower features an open outer ring of petals and a tightly spaced inner ring that surrounds a cluster of stamens. This flower’s road to becoming a state flower as well as its rich symbolic meaning make it an interesting bloom of study as well as one important to the people of Colorado.


Though the Rocky Mountain Columbine can grow in low elevations, it thrives on high mountaintops, something of which Colorado has plenty. This flower was officially discovered by mountain climber Edwin James at Pike’s Peak, a picturesque mountain peak still popular with contemporary tourists.

Road to State Flower Designation

In 1899, the Rocky Mountain Columbine became the state flower of Colorado. It wasn’t the adults within the state who decided to proclaim this bud the state flower, but instead the children. School children took a vote in this year and elected this bloom as the flower representative of their state.

Symbolic Meaning

The Rocky Mountain Columbine is comprised of several colors: blue, white and yellow. Each of the colors that make up this flower are seen as in some way symbolic of this state. The blue that covers the outer petals of this flower is said to represent the sky. The white, which makes up the interior petals, represents the snow that commonly coats the ground during cold weather months and the mountaintops 12 months a year. The yellow found on the stamen cluster that fills the center is said to represent mining, an important industry that brought many settlers to Colorado, the land they would ultimately call home.


The Rocky Mountain Columbine is not only symbolically important to the people of Colorado, it is also a protected plant. This flower is protected under Colorado State senate bill 261 and, as a result, those seeking to procure the beauties are limited in their abilities to do so. No Rocky Mountain Columbines can be uprooted from soil anywhere within the rocky mountain state. Individuals can, however, gather buds of this flower from public lands, but are limited to 25 stems per day. No picking of the Rocky Mountain Columbine is permitted on private lands without the direct consent of the owner of the land.

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